Thursday, January 1, 2015

Your Theological Resolutions for the New Year

Resolutions for the New Year are bunk.  Unless they concern theology.

1.  Unknow a little bit more.

Mystery remains, riddles can be explained.  God, the mystery of all things, is mystery.  Though human beings strive to speak of, think about, and act on God, there is always more of God, there is always more hidden.  So we should perhaps speak less, think less, and act less in respect of this mystery.  The mystery of the cross and the tomb is a mystery we shall never solve.

2.  Have a care for the truth.

Just because you are near a building called a church or walk into a space where people presume to speak of God, this does not make what you say about God true.  If you care for the truth of what you do, say, or think, the haunting question "why is this true" should immunize you from all the tricks, myths, and ideologies that Christians use to obscure the false from the true.

3.   Demand your constructive theology to be practical and your practical theology to be systematic.

We live in a time of blurred disciplinary boundaries in theology, perhaps a canary-signal of the breakdown of theology as a discipline in any sense.  We live in an age when systematic theologians write about poetry and practical theologians write about the atonement.  Theology has never been easy; guild distinctions somewhat ease the burden of that difficulty.  But with the blurring of boundaries there are forgotten questions (why should I care about hermeneutics?), resources (yes, there were a whole body of early 19th century Germans who wrote about divine love and self-emptying in sophisticated and important ways), and goals (theology should matter).  The blurring of boundaries in theology can be a boon or burden.

4.  Heed Charles Schultz.